STAFF SUPPORT by sdfsb346f



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March 2006
         May 2004
Revised March 2006
               Staff Support Systems in Whitefield Schools and Centre

We recognise that although working in Whitefield Schools and Centre is an exciting, fulfilling
experience, it can also be extremely challenging particularly for new staff. There can be
uncertainty and pressure as colleagues adapt to unfamiliar routines and cope with demands of
working in teams. The School has high expectations of its staff as we aim to meet the
individual educational and behavioural needs of our pupils.

In order to ease the transition into the Whitefield organisation and provide essential on-going
support, we have established a number of procedures and systems in line with the Whitefield
Schools and Centre Statement on Staff Well Being and our Code of Ethics.

Support networks include:

   Professional Development Support
   •   Appraiser STA, HLTA or line managers who are available to meet with colleagues
   •   Behaviour support teams for staff working with pupils who show challenging behaviour
   •   Access to training and development

   Pastoral Support
   •   Informal support from colleagues in the school, class, office or site team
   •   A mentor system
   •   External Support Agencies

As colleagues become established in their school or office work place there are still team and
pupil related issues that may cause upset, pressure or stress e.g. changes in the group,
pressure of deadlines, coping with challenging behaviour or dealing with the tragedy of sick and
dying children. Therefore the support networks are not only available in the early days after
appointment, but continue throughout colleagues’ career at Whitefield.

Professional Development Support

Appraiser or line manager support Professional support is given by a Supervisory Teaching
Assistant (STA), Higher Level TA, line manager or Head of School. The aim is to provide a
professional role model and support colleagues while they acquire such knowledge, skills, and
understanding of their role and their pupils, as are judged appropriate to the individual schools.
Support for Learning Support Assistants can also be accessed through the Progression

Meetings with a line manager are regular i.e. at least half-termly for the first year and then at
least termly thereafter, culminating in an annual performance management interview, or

Behaviour support teams Each school has a system for providing practical advice and
support for teachers and teaching assistants in relation to difficult behaviours exhibited in class
It is usually in the form of experienced colleagues who observe pupils, and then discuss and
monitor the behaviour support plans.

Access to training and development In order to raise confidence and equip staff with the
knowledge, skills and understanding required to carry out their role and responsibilities, training
and development is provided within individual schools, support teams, administration sections
and by the Centre for Professional Development and Information (CPDI).

Pastoral Support
Informal support from colleagues in the school and team Every member of staff is
expected to be aware of their responsibilities and show respect to each other in order to provide
essential support. – See our Code of Ethics and Staff Well Being Statement.

The mentor system This system is considered to be essential to the successful integration of
colleagues into Whitefield and to the continued well being of all staff. All members of staff are
entitled to a mentor, and are given a named person within the first week of starting at

Many colleagues feel under pressure at times and although we cannot always anticipate how
individuals will manage such times, we provide a mentor so colleagues do not feel isolated or
unable to cope.

A mentor is an experienced, trained colleague and an empathetic listener who can help and
advise as necessary. The mentor adopts a non-judgmental position and provides support
during the early settling in period. Mentor support continues even when the colleague is
established as there may be different challenges.

Mentor Co-ordinators
For each school, centre, administrative section or support team there is a Coordinator who
liaises with and is accountable to the Head of School, member of the leadership team or line
manager. The Head of School, member of the leadership team or line manager monitors
practice and effectiveness of the mentor system.

Coordinators have day-to-day responsibility for the system ensuring that each colleague has a
mentor and that whole school policies and procedures are followed.

There is a list of mentors posted on schools' notice boards, the coordinators select a mentor
and introduce the new member of staff to his/her mentor.

The Mentor
Expectations of mentors are high. They are presented as role models and are expected to set
an example for new colleagues, as such they are always ‘on show’ e.g. in their breaks, in
meetings and in discussions with colleagues. The mentor is expected to ensure that the Code
of Ethics is adhered to; this means reinforcing the document for new colleagues.

The mentor arranges an initial meeting and then arranges three further meetings over the first
term, although a regular ‘check’ will be made with a new member of staff as additional support
will be needed at particular times and it is the mentor’s responsibility to anticipate these.

The rules of confidentiality are in line with the Whitefield Confidentiality Policy and, unless child
protection issues or issues of comparable consequences for others are raised, all discussions
are confidential.

All members of staff should ensure that colleagues feel supported, understand roles,
responsibilities and expectations.

External Support Agencies
External Support Agencies are available for all colleagues. These services are confidential and
can support on a professional and personal level. Services are advertised through union
notices and representatives, Teacher Stressline, advertised on staffroom notice boards.

This Policy will be reviewed January 2007.


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